Gen Z workers pick genAI over managers for career advice


Toxic work environments and a lack of internal upward mobility are adding to employee dissatisfaction, and many workers believe a primary cause of the problem stems from the behavior of their managers, according to a new study by career development and outplacement firm Intoo.

The survey, conducted in partnership with research firm Workplace Intelligence, also found Gen Z employees are engaging more in “AI Career Coaching” and claim to get their best career advice from ChatGPT. Around 47% of Gen Zers say they get better advice from a chatbot than from their manager. More broadly, 77% of employees and 79% of human resource leaders said they’d experienced at least one characteristic of a toxic workplace in their jobs.

Poor treatment at work and a lack of career advancement has also led to a growing number of workers to actively seeking employment elsewhere, according to the survey of 800 employees and 800 human resource leaders. The survey data, collected between Nov. 19 and Dec. 2, 2023, was originally published in February, then updated and re-released today

The survey focused on what makes a workplace toxic and what would create a positive work environment that leads to greater job satisfaction, better performance, and higher retention.

The top factor contributing to toxic workplaces is managers showing favoritism towards certain employees, according to 46% of employees surveyed by Intoo and Workplace Intelligence. And 42% cited managers or leaders who ignore employee feedback as contributing to poor work environments.

Adding to the problem: bad advice from managers, according to the survey data. More than a third (39%) of workers said they’d received bad career advice from managers. In fact, employees said they get better career advice from their friends and family (62%), Google (44%), social media (36%), and genAI (34% overall) than they get from their boss.

According to Intoo’s survey, 63% of respondents felt their employer cares more about productivity than career development, and 54% said they feel completely on their own at their organization when it comes to career development. Forty-four percent said their employer does not value their career development.

In tandem with those sentiments, HR leaders in the survey predict that 25% of employees (and 44% of Gen Z employees) are likely to quit their jobs within the next six months due to a lack of support for career development.

Career path confusion

A separate workplace study done by recruitment and outplacement firm LHH found that nearly half of 30,000 full-time employees in 27 countries (46%) want to change careers — but don’t know which path to take. And 72% of workers contemplate future plans — such as their next job, reskilling, and upskilling — at least once a quarter.

A majority of workers (86%) are confident that they could find a new job within six months up, from 61% in 2022, whether it’s through their own networks (74%), independent job search (71%), or a staffing agency (68%), according to the LHH survey. But nearly half (46%) don’t feel their managers would support them in moving to another role within the organization.

Additionally, 47% are keeping up to date with open job opportunities, yet not applying for them, according to LHH data. However, another 18% are actively applying for jobs and 19% indicated they’re interviewing with prospective employers. Only 8% are looking for new opportunities internal to their company.

Among other big takeaway from LHH’s report? Organizations need to invest in their employees in order to attract skilled talent, especially from tech. “Workers in tech are the most confident that their skills can transfer to another industry or to another role within the tech field,” the report said.

The broader sense of unease is shared across geographies and industries, especially in Australia (65%), China (62%), Turkey (59%), and the US (57%), where workers feel strongest that external factors affect their careers more than they do themselves. In these countries, employees are less likely to quit for salary reasons than because they want to start their own businesses, showing they want to feel empowered.

Many younger employees make career decisions based on their values and want to be able to drive change within their organizations, but feel powerless to do that, according to a recent survey by Deloitte. Over half of respondents (58% of Gen Zs and 55% of millennials) say their organization currently seeks input from employees and incorporates their feedback, but roughly a third (32% of Gen Zs and 35% of millennials) say decisions are still made from the top and employee feedback is not often acted upon.

Artificial Intelligence, Careers, IT Leadership, Technology Industry

Previous Story

Adobe’s new Firefly Image 3 adds genAI features to Photoshop

Next Story

How to fix iCloud sync in seconds